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Chelsea decide date for first Kai Havertz transfer bid after receiving price-tag boost

Chelsea will reportedly bid for Kai Havertz once the midfielder has played in Saturday’s DFB Pokal final against Bayern Munich. The match could prove to be his final game in a Bayer Leverkusen shirt as he prepares to embark on a new chapter.

The Blues have made the German international one of their top targets ahead of the summer transfer window.

They have already landed Hakim Ziyech and Havertz’s international team-mate Timo Werner but Roman Abramovich is not prepared to stop spending there.

According to The Telegraph, German sources claim Chelsea will make their first offer once Saturday’s match is out of the way.

Leverkusen will want no distractions heading into the contest despite being aware of the interest surrounding Havertz.

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Their Bundesliga season ended in frustrating fashion last weekend when they were denied a top-four finish.

It means the club will not be playing Champions League football next season, something that could push Havertz closer to the exit door.

Chelsea were boosted by the final standings in Germany and it means Leverkusen will be more inclined to sell Havertz at a cheaper price.

Earlier this year, they slapped a £90million valuation on Havertz.

Chelsea are not prepared to pay anywhere near that figure and will start negotiations way below that figure.

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Frank Lampard is set to lose both Willian and Pedro at the end of the season.

The wide duo have agreed contract extensions until the end of the season but have struggled to negotiate beyond that.

Pedro has already signed a pre-contract agreement with Roma.

Havertz will bring productivity in the final third having scored 12 times in the Bundesliga this season.

Before the season was completed, former Chelsea and Leverkusen hero Michael Ballack has urged the youngster not to rush his decision.

“Players with his quality are in demand everywhere,” Ballack told Bild.

“But I think he’s in good hands in Leverkusen. The conditions there are perfect for young top players and their development.

“Bayer play attractive football and their training facilities are very good.

“Leverkusen also offer a cautious environment, and as a player you can make mistakes without being the focus of criticism. You should appreciate that.

“Of course a player like Kai Havertz has to play in the Champions League, so it would be important for Leverkusen to qualify for it.”

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Timo Werner reveals what Antonio Rudiger told him about Chelsea to help seal transfer

Timo Werner has revealed that Antonio Rudiger played a big role in convincing the German international to join Chelsea. Last month the Blues agreed to pay Werner’s £53million release clause at RB Leipzig, beating a host of European rivals to the 24-year-old’s signature.

Werner is believed to have penned a five-year deal at Stamford Bridge, with some reports suggesting the striker could earn as much as £270,000-a-week.

The new Chelsea signing had looked destined to join Liverpool before the Reds pulled the plug on a deal due to the financial implications of the coronavirus crisis.

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The Blues immediately swooped in with Werner’s compatriot and former Stuttgart team-mate Rudiger putting in the groundwork to ensure the pair reunited in west London.

Speaking about Rudiger’s influence on his move, Werner told RB Leipzig’s official YouTube channel: “Yes, of course, I spoke to him. I’ve known him for a long time, seven years now.

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“He is a leading player there and knows all there is to know – I think he played there for two or three years already.

“So there wasn’t really a better person I could talk to than him. I asked him what it’s like, what the environment is like, what the coach is like…

“He was positive about it all. It would have been strange for him to say different, though!

“He was full of praise. He said that the city was incredible and that you can only be happy there.

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“So it was useful to be able to talk to him, and he really helped me in making my decision.”

Chelsea fans are delighted to see such a high-profile signing secured ahead of a 2020/21 campaign where they hope the Blues can challenge for the Premier League title.

Werner is not the only new arrival, with Hakim Ziyech set to link up with the Blues in the next few weeks after agreeing a move from Ajax in February.

And the Blues are also targeting Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell as well as several other signings in order to strengthen Lampard’s hand ahead of the new season.

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Werner has also opened up on why he chose Chelsea over a number of other suitors, saying: “Why specifically Chelsea? Okay I have come to love playing football, and I’ve come to love playing football here in Leipzig.

“I just wanted to try something new for myself. I want to learn a new language and experience a different environment.

“Why, Chelsea? I think that Chelsea has similarities to Leipzig.

“They have a young team, just like us. They have a young and ambitious coach, who one hand was very friendly and likeable during our talks.

“He can really convince you to join. But he also really understands football. When you combine that with young players, but also some world champions and star players…

“And then add in the fact that it’s perhaps an even bigger club than Leipzig. All these things combine to make me go: ‘Okay, it’s time to call it a day in Leipzig.”

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Man Utd’s Champions League hopes rest on two players – ‘It will be down to them’

Manchester United’s hopes of securing qualification for the Champions League next season is all down to Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, according to former Tottenham striker Darren Bent. Fernandes has continued his fine start at United since his £46.6million arrival from Sporting Lisbon in January. The Portugal international scored a brace in the 3-0 win at Brighton on Tuesday.

Fernandes has started to build a partnership with Pogba, who has featured in all five games since lockdown after recovering from the ankle injury that had kept him out of the majority of the campaign.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side sit fifth in the Premier League table, which could be enough to qualify for the Champions League pending Manchester City’s appeal against their two-year European ban imposed on them by UEFA.

United are unbeaten in their last 15 matches in all competitions but Bent says how they finish the season will largely be down to how Fernandes and Pogba perform.

“The obvious one [who has impressed me] is Bruno Fernandes and the impact he’s had on the squad, I think he’s been fantastic,” Bent told Premier League Productions.

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“Not only that as well, Pogba has kind of seen what Fernandes has been doing and it’s like he’s kind of said: ‘Well hold on, I’m a good player as well, you’re not going to forget about me’.

“So both of them in tandem have been fantastic.

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“[Anthony] Martial’s been good, scored a hat-trick, [Marcus] Rashford’s still trying to find his feet, [Mason] Greenwood, young kid, 18 years old, looks like he knows how to play the Manchester United way.

“So for me I think those two in the middle of the park, Pogba and Fernandes, I think however far Manchester United go this year, whether they get into the top four, it will be down to them two.”

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Meanwhile, legendary United striker Dwight Yorke has explained how Pogba has changed his game while playing alongside Fernandes.

“When it comes to Pogba, Pogba recognises now that he doesn’t need to do it all,” Yorke told Stadium Astro.

“Before, I think he needed to do it all at United because it was so frustrating at times watching.

“He felt like he needed to make a wonder-pass and I think now with Bruno coming in and hitting the ground running, not only can he score but he can create himself as well.

“So he doesn’t need to play those killer balls all the time and I think that’s relieved him to recognise sometimes I can do it simple.”

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Chelsea ace offered to PSG but two English clubs also interested in £27m player

Chelsea have reportedly offered Kurt Zouma to Paris Saint-Germain ahead of the summer transfer window. Two English clubs are also said to be interested in the French defender, who is believed to be valued in the region of £27million.

Zouma has struggled to nail down a starting berth at Chelsea this season, rotating with Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori since the turn of the year.

The centre-back has still racked up 34 appearances across all competitions this term but is not considered indispensable to the Stamford Bridge club.

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The Blues are currently in the process of overhauling their first-team squad ahead of next season, having already secured the signings of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner.

Manager Frank Lampard is now targeting Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell but a new central defender is also on the transfer wishlist.

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And funds need to be raised through player sales in order to fund these deals while space also needs to be made on the wage bill.

With this in mind, Zouma is thought to be the centre-back most at risk of departing in the upcoming window.

The latest report from France suggests the 25-year-old has already been offered to Ligue 1 champions PSG.

TF1 reporter Julien Maynard claims a move from Chelsea has been proposed in the past few days while PSG boss Thomas Tuchel is appreciative of Zouma’s talents.

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However, no discussion has started between the clubs over details of a transfer and two English clubs are also credited with interest in the Blues ace.

One of these is believed to be Tottenham, with Jose Mourinho reportedly keen on the player.

It has even been claimed that Mourinho passed on Zouma’s name to Spurs chairman Daniel Levy as a priority target in the upcoming window.

Meanwhile, it has been suggested that Everton could attempt to re-sign a player who excelled while on loan at Goodison Park last season.

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However, Maynard’s report does not specify the English clubs involved.

Zouma is unlikely to be the only Chelsea player linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge this summer, with Michy Batshuayi and Tiemoue Bakayoko also expected to depart.

Atletico Madrid are expected to take up their £48.5m option on Alvaro Morata while the Blues are believed to be willing to listen to offers for Danny Drinkwater, Victor Moses and Davide Zappacosta.

Meanwhile, Emerson Palmieri looks destined for a return to Serie A with Juventus leading the race for the full-back while Marcos Alonso is attracting attention from Inter Milan.

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Chelsea could sign free agent as Kai Havertz transfer alternative after Timo Werner deal

Chelsea could make a move for former Manchester United midfielder Angel Gomes as he has now left the club. The Blues have been linked with Bayer Leverkusen ace Kai Havertz but a bid in the region of £75million may be needed to secure his signature.

And with the Blues already paying over £50m for Timo Werner they may opt to go for a cheaper option.

Gomes rejected United’s contract offers and has left the club in the hopes of gaining first-team football elsewhere.

Chelsea could appeal to him with Frank Lampard including a number of youngsters this year.

The likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Reece James have all broken into the first-team with Christian Pulisic becoming a key member of the squad.

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Gomes is highly-rated and will no doubt have many suitors for his signature.

But Chelsea boss Frank Lampard did recently rubbish reports linking the 19-year-old with a switch to Stamford Bridge.

“It’s never been mentioned in my end, so that’s it,” he bluntly said.

Gomes made just 10 senior appearances for United with three starts in the Europa League coming this season.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer all but confirmed the youngster’s exit earlier this week.

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“I’ve got no news, nothing, so it doesn’t look like [he will stay],” Solskjaer told a news conference on Monday.

“I’ve not heard from them last night or this morning. It seems like they haven’t managed to agree so the answer is probably short and yes [he will leave].”

Chelsea are one of several clubs linked with impressive Leverkusen star Havertz.

But with another big fee required to sign the Bundesliga star, the Blues could be tempted to make an offer for Gomes instead.

While his wage demands could be reasonably high there would not be any transfer fee as he is out of contract and therefore a free agent.

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Another star Chelsea have been linked with is West Ham midfielder Declan Rice.

But Lampard was coy again on the stories and refused to comment on the speculation.

He explained: “Declan Rice is a good player, I’ve known him for a long time, he was in Chelsea’s Academy, but there’s no talk.

“I will keep saying that about every player until these games and this season are finished. There’s nothing to say.”

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When Man Utd plan to unleash Hannibal Mejbri after Angel Gomes departure

Manchester United will only unleash Hannibal Mejbri when he’s physically ready to cope with life at the highest level, reports say. The 17-year-old has been tipped to replace Angel Gomes in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team squad next season. But the youngster may have to wait a little while longer to prove his worth.

According to The Athletic, United will only throw Mejbri into the mix once he toughens up physically.

The Premier League is a tough crack for many players to crack and, with the midfielder just 17, the Red Devils want to do everything they can to protect his development.

United have seen Gomes leave on a free transfer with the playmaker linked with Chelsea and Barcelona, having turned down the offer of a contract extension.

But Mejbri, as it stands, won’t be filling the void left behind by his departure.

United are currently blessed with midfielders, with all of them impressing under Solskjaer in recent times.

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Paul Pogba has been reborn since returning from injury, with the 27-year-old shining in matches against Tottenham, Sheffield United, Norwich and Brighton so far.

Bruno Fernandes has performed well, too, ever since his arrival from Sporting Lisbon in the January transfer window.

Nemanja Matic is resurgent in the defensive midfield role, with the Serbia international winding back the years in the middle of the park.

And Scott McTominay and Fred have been much-improved following Solskjaer’s appointment as manager back in 2018.

Meanwhile, United coach Neil Ryan hailed Mejbri when asked about the teenage talent back in March.

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“He comes with a high reputation, good player, lovely character, good kid,” he told the Evening Standard.

“He’s working very hard and like every young kid in the club, he is learning still and we are seeing some really positive things from him on the pitch.

“He is part of a group of boys who are trying to push on and develop.

“They are all at stages in their career and it’s not just him. It’s a group of 28-30 players. He is one of a number of boys we have high hopes for.”

United coach Nicky Butt also hailed Mejbri and admitted earlier in the year that he wanted to keep the playmaker under the radar.

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“It’s hard to get him under the radar when we’ve chased him for so long and he’s come from a big club for a big fee, so that’s impossible,” Butt said.

“But you want to get young people under the radar because, coming from a different country and getting the price tag on your head and coming to one of the biggest clubs in the world, there’s going to be so much pressure in the first place.”

Regarding Gomes, it’s unclear where he’ll go next.

Both Chelsea and Barcelona have been touted as potential destinations for the 19-year-old.

But clubs from Italy and other areas of Europe are interested in snapping him up too.

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Chelsea player ratings vs West Ham: Willian and Pulisic impress but ace anonymous in loss

Chelsea missed their opportunity to go third in the Premier League after suffering a shock 3-2 defeat to West Ham. Willian scored twice as the Blues came from behind before ultimately being beaten in an enthralling clash at the London Stadium.

West Ham had an opening goal ruled out by VAR before Willian struck from the penalty spot, slotting past Lukasz Fabianski after Issa Diop brought down Christian Pulisic.

The Hammers hit back through Tomas Soucek’s header just before half-time and then took the lead when Michael Antonio slammed home from close range.

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Willian equalised with an excellent free-kick but Chelsea were caught on the break when pushing for a winner and Andriy Yarmolenko hammered home a late winner.

Express Sport have rated how the Chelsea players performed against West Ham, but do you agree?

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Chelsea player ratings vs West Ham United – Premier League

GK: Kepa Arrizabalaga – 5

Left stranded for all three goals and will be asking serious questions of his defence.

RB: Cesar Azpilicueta – 4

Dominated by Soucek when trying to mark the Czech midfielder at corners and was caught out twice, although VAR bailed him out on one occasion.

Unable to offer much going forward and was part of an out-of-sorts rearguard.

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CB: Andreas Christensen – 6

Built on his impressive outing against Manchester City with another solid display here.

Antonio opted to target Rudiger instead of the Dane, and Christensen was easily the most accomplished Blues defender on show.

CB: Antonio Rudiger – 4

A pretty torrid evening for the German, who was given the slip early by Antonio as a sign of things to come.

Struggled to deal with the Hammers forward’s movement and strength, while his attempt to halt Yarmolenko’s break was weak.

LB: Marcos Alonso – 3

Ineffective in the attacking third and inept at the other end of the pitch.

Allowed the cross for West Ham’s second and then inexcusably failed to track Yarmolenko’s run in the closing stages.

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CM: N’Golo Kante – 5

Overshadowed by his opposite number Declan Rice in a low-key outing, although the Frenchman did start to get more of a handle on the game after the break.

CM: Mateo Kovacic – 5

Bright in the opening stages and kept the ball tidily but was withdrawn shortly after half-time.

CM: Ross Barkley – 3

Forced a simple save from Fabianski in the first-half but was anonymous thereafter.

Deserved his start but will struggle to justify getting another one at the weekend.

RAM: Willian – 8

Great composure to bury his penalty and then spotted Fabianski out of position for his free-kick, but two goals wasn’t enough to bail out the Blues.

LAM: Christian Pulisic – 8

Won the penalty with his quick feet and was a threat all evening, driving at the West Ham defence and always looking to play positively.

In a brilliant vein of form, but it’s a shame that wasn’t matched by his team-mates tonight.

ST: Tammy Abraham – 5

Got very little change out of the West Ham centre-backs.

SUB: Mason Mount (on for Kovacic, 53 mins) – 6

SUB: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (on for Barkley, 63 mins) – 5

SUB: Olivier Giroud (on for Abraham, 63 mins) – 6

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Chelsea star lifts lid on squad reaction to Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech transfer deals

Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen says the Blues players are eager to get their first look at the quality of new signings Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech. Deals have already been secured for the attacking duo ahead of the summer transfer window, with both players expected to link up with Frank Lampard’s squad in the coming weeks.

Chelsea agreed a £33.4million fee with Ajax for Ziyech back in February while the west London club confirmed their intention to pay Werner’s £53m release clause midway through June.

The pair are expected to immediately strengthen the Blues’ Premier League title challenge next season but fans will be keen to see if the Stamford Bridge side have got value for money.

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And Christensen, who has prior experience playing against Werner from his time on loan in Germany with Borussia Monchengladbach, admits that the Chelsea players are also interested to learn just how good their new team-mates can be.

Speaking to the official Chelsea website, the Dane said: “I played against Werner quite a few times when I was in Germany so I know what he can do and what sort of player he is.

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“I haven’t played against Ziyech but I’ve seen him a lot and I think they can both bring good things to the club.

“We’re all excited to see what they can bring.”

Neither player is eligible for Chelsea’s remaining fixtures this season, but Lampard is already formulating a plan to integrate the pair into first-team training.

The Blues are currently fourth in the Premier League and on course for Champions League qualification – presumably a big selling point in convincing Werner and Ziyech to join.

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Chelsea are still in this year’s competition but need a miracle to overturn a 3-0 deficit against Bayern Munich and progress through to the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, the Blues are also into the semi-finals of the FA Cup as Lampard’s youthful team exceeds expectations this season.

“We are in a process but I think we are way ahead of time,” said Christensen.

“We know what we’re capable of. We feel very comfortable and confident at the moment.

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“We have a good balance between experienced people and young, exciting talent and we’re all hungry to reach the same goals.”

Competition for places is fierce, with Christensen battling Fikayo Tomori, Kurt Zouma and Antonio Rudiger for match action.

But the academy graduate has no intention of leaving, saying: “I’ve always had my eyes at Chelsea.

“I’ve had my contract [until 2022], I’ve always expected to finish that and I’ve always dreamed of even more than that.

“I’ve never looked anywhere else. I’ve never doubted my situation. Obviously it was a different situation last season [when he was predominantly utilised in the Europa League by Maurizio Sarri] but I still love being here.”

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Chelsea new boy Timo Werner backed to be big Blues success because of two key qualities

Timo Werner is expected to hit the ground running at Chelsea because of two key attributes, according to Oliver Bierhoff. The former Germany striker thinks Werner’s appetite for goals and his ambition will ensure he does not take long to settle at Stamford Bridge next season.

Chelsea have completed a £53million move for Werner after agreeing to pay the 24-year-old’s release clause at RB Leipzig.

The German had been linked with a host of top clubs around Europe, including Premier League champions Liverpool, but the Blues were first to his signature.

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Werner bagged 28 goals in 34 Bundesliga appearances this term, and Bierhoff believes that desire to get on the scoresheet will be one of the driving factors in helping the new arrival succeed after moving countries.

Speaking to The Athletic, the former Udinese, AC Milan and Monaco frontman said: “I played outside of Germany for 13 out of 17 years and it was brilliant. I think it’s a courageous decision and a good one for Timo.

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“We often see players who go abroad grow in personality. Take Per Mertesacker, at Arsenal. Bernd Leno, too. Marc-Andre ter Stegen (at Barcelona), Ilkay Gundogan (at Manchester City). Toni Kroos (at Real Madrid), Antonio Rudiger (at Chelsea).

“In a foreign country, you are left to your own devices. There’s a risk factor involved, but I would always do it again because you mature so much.

“Italy was a shock to me at first. You believe football is the same everywhere, but it’s totally different everywhere.

“The people are different, the dressing room humour is different, communication is different, the game is different. You need a bit of time to get used to it.

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“There is an expectation on you that you should not take too long, of course, but I believe that Timo’s obsessive quest for goals and his ambitiousness will help him settle quickly.

“He doesn’t look left or right too much, he’s focused on scoring and performing well. And with his pace, he will score goals in England, I’m sure.”

Werner scored both goals in Leipzig’s 2-1 win over Augsburg on the final day of the season to secure a third-place finish in the Bundesliga.

However, the striker is unable to play the club’s remaining Champions League fixtures and will instead join Chelsea as soon as possible with his contract coming into effect on July 1.

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Werner therefore ends the campaign with 34 goals in 45 outings across all competitions, and Blues fans hope he will be able to replicate that next season.

Speaking to Sportbuzzer about being unable to complete his Champions League adventure with Leipzig, Werner said: “It was clear that all parties – Chelsea, RB and my side – should and must settle this.

“Of course, I tried to keep out of the Champions League issue as much as I could because it was clear that I would have to hurt one side. That’s why my agent finally agreed it with the clubs.”

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Christian Pulisic girlfriend: Who is the Chelsea star dating?

Christian Pulisic has been Chelsea’s standout performer since football’s resumption. The American scored in the Blues’ Premier League wins over Aston Villa and Manchester City, while putting in another impressive display in the FA Cup quarter-final victory at Leicester.

But while his talents on the pitch are clear, Chelsea fans are also keen to know about his life off the field.

Does Christian Pulisic have a girlfriend?

Pulisic has not disclosed his current relationship status, but many outlets report him to be single.

In an interview with Front Row Soccer in 2017, Pulisic’s father Mark revealed his son had not yet had a “serious girlfriend”.

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Mark was responding to the media’s comparisons of Christian and USA football icon Landon Donovan.

“Landon Donovan is Landon Donovan, and he’ll always be remembered as Landon Donovan,” he said.

“Don’t put another name next to that. It’s not fair, it’s not right to do. That’s my opinion.

“My son is 18. To say he’s the best or going to be the best, it’s ridiculous.

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“My son’s so young. He hasn’t had a serious girlfriend yet. Who knows how he’s going to react to that part of his life?

“Who knows how he’s going to react to his first major setback when he’s left out of a national team, when he’s left out of the first team? How he is going to come off an injury?”

During the coronavirus shutdown, Pulisic returned to his hometown of Hershey, Pennsylvania.

To keep himself entertained, the 21-year-old found himself using popular social media app TikTok, giving fans a better understanding of his personality.

“I’ve got on TikTok to help pass the day,” he said upon his return to Chelsea’s Cobham training ground in May.

“I’ve always liked dancing and doing fun things, other things aside from the game.

“I know some people might not like this sort of stuff but I really don’t care because I’m going to carry on doing it anyway!

“I think it gives people a chance to see me a little better.

“No one really knows who I am, they just see me as a footballer, so hopefully, it gives them a little insight into my character.”

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